Questions tagged [phd]

Questions about the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, including requirements such as dissertations and university programs leading to a Ph.D.

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149 votes
3 answers
87k views

How are Ph.D. applications evaluated in the US, particularly for weak or borderline students? Am I likely to get into school X?

This is a special community wiki 'canonical' question that aggregates advice on a frequently-asked question. See this meta discussion. Please feel free to edit this question to improve it. When ...
115 votes
18 answers
114k views

Is doing two PhDs a good path?

I am studying a combined bachelor of engineering (electrical) and bachelor of mathematics; I just started this year and will graduate in 2018. The reason why I am doing double degrees and not a single ...
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23 votes
8 answers
2k views

How does the admissions process work for Ph.D. programs in Country X?

This is a special community wiki 'canonical' question that aggregates advice on a frequently-asked question. See this meta discussion. Please feel free to edit this question to improve it. Please give ...
51 votes
6 answers
17k views

I've been admitted to multiple PhD programs, how should I choose between them?

I've been admitted to more than one PhD program, and I'm having a very hard time making a decision. The programs I'm accepted to have advantages and disadvantages with respect to one another. How do ...
56 votes
11 answers
42k views

How old is too old for a PhD?

Are there any age limits (formal, informal, or guidelines) that schools use when deciding to accept someone into a PhD program? I'm most curious about the upper age limits. For example, will most ...
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72 votes
9 answers
190k views

Is transferring to another university an option for an unhappy PhD student?

I've heard of people transferring between graduate schools because of their advisor moving to another school and taking their students with them. Do students ever transfer for other reasons? If a ...
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  • 2,061
19 votes
6 answers
6k views

Is it worth self-funding a PhD to attend a top 10 university?

What should I opt for? Option A) very well paid PhD, around €3000 per month at a respectable university or; Option B) a non-paid PhD, where I have to pay €2000 per year at one of the top 10 ...
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  • 525
106 votes
3 answers
21k views

What is a “sandwich thesis”?

On the Internet, I have found that some people have graduated with a PhD by means of a “sandwich thesis”. Could anyone explain what it is?
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53 votes
4 answers
28k views

How to contact professors for PhD vacancies?

I know many master's students who get an opportunity to talk to their potential PhD advisors well before applying. In most cases this opportunity is available by the professors with whom they worked ...
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33 votes
3 answers
42k views

Rejecting a PhD offer after having accepted it. Advice?

I have accepted a PhD offer from a very good university to do a project very close to my interests. I have told the project supervisor I accept it. In the meanwhile I have managed to secure a PhD ...
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  • 693
6 votes
3 answers
4k views

With a background in mathematical finance and desire to apply for a mathematics PhD in another field, do I need a second master's?

Pardon the dumb question if ever. I notice similar questions all sound like "can I get a second master's?" but mine is "do I need?" I am nearly finished with my master in mathematical finance. I have ...
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  • 2,258
28 votes
4 answers
23k views

Prospective PhD contacts potential supervisor but receives no answer after 2-3 emails, what to do?

Say a prospective PhD has a high reply rate (90-95%) to first contact emails with potential superviors. He/She has a well thought out e-mail, but a particular professor (here: USA) that is in the top ...
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64 votes
5 answers
34k views

What ratio of PhD graduates in STEM fields ultimately end up as (tenured) professors?

I recently saw this infogram circling around various social networks: It appeared in this Tweet with the following claim: Got a PhD? Your chance of becoming a Professor is 0.45%. Good luck. Being ...
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97 votes
9 answers
34k views

I want to do research but I'm too old for a PHD

I really love research. I started a research project in graduate school for my M.A. in English. My research topic is a very viable and interesting topic for a dissertation. I'll be 60 on my next ...
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63 votes
9 answers
78k views

Is it appropriate to buy a "thank you" gift for a PhD supervisor?

I am nearing the end of my PhD and I would quite like to buy a "thank you" gift for my supervisor (although, she's the socially awkward type who I'm sure will be greatly embarrassed to receive one). ...
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267 votes
20 answers
32k views

How to avoid procrastination during the research phase of my PhD?

I just finished all of my coursework for my PhD program, and am entering the research phase of my degree with a topic already in mind. I've already started the research, but I'm already finding that ...
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87 votes
16 answers
44k views

What are the potential pitfalls of having a PhD?

This question follow's JeffE's comment here: In most industries, a PhD has negative value. I am curious about what potential negatives there may be with having a PhD, particularly in industries. ...
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86 votes
11 answers
352k views

PhD candidate vs PhD student

I see researchers working on their PhD calling themselves PhD Candidates, other call themselves PhD students. What's the difference between a PhD Candidate and a PhD Student? According to two ...
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53 votes
5 answers
80k views

When does one go for a double doctorate?

I would love to know the circumstances under which people opt for a second doctorate degree. Could a professor working in a university write up a thesis and submit it to his department to earn a ...
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  • 22.3k
18 votes
4 answers
4k views

Undergraduate research field different from PhD field

I am a Physics undergrad who is interested in pursuing a PhD in pure maths in the future (algebraic geometry/topology) but I am a bit unsure. My question is quite general, and I don't wish to provide ...
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97 votes
17 answers
316k views

Is it possible to work full time and complete a PhD?

Is it achievable to perform a doctorate while working in a private company (not in college) full time (8 hours per day, 5 days per week)? Or is it too much work or stress?
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41 votes
4 answers
9k views

Details an applicant should include/exclude in an introductory letter to a prospective grad school adviser?

I'm applying for graduate school (PhD in computer science), and I'm considering writing to faculty whose research areas match with what I intend to pursue, to understand: Whether they'd be looking ...
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56 votes
3 answers
18k views

How long before PhD graduation should I start applying for post-doc positions?

My earliest PhD graduation date is 10 months away. Funding permits me to stay 1–3 months longer, so the final date is still uncertain. It is never too early to make contacts for possible post-docs. ...
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66 votes
8 answers
24k views

Is a PhD right for you if you hate doing research in your free time but love doing it as a job?

Say for example you are a new PhD student and realize that you hate doing research in your free time but you are more than willing to spend several hours in the morning to do research. Was your ...
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  • 789
33 votes
2 answers
38k views

What are the main differences between undergraduate, master's, and doctoral theses?

When I did my undergraduate thesis, my adviser was expected big on students expecting them working really hard, so it ended up as a reduced master's thesis (most of the reviewers said that it was an ...
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  • 11.8k
33 votes
5 answers
9k views

PhD in the US compared to Europe

I start my master studies this fall in quantitative finance/economics in Europe. Since this will just take 3-4 semesters I want to take a look ahead and obviously PhD is one option to do. So I am ...
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14 votes
5 answers
8k views

Implications of being accepted without funding to a computer science PhD in the United States?

I was accepted into Ohio State University CS PhD without funding. I have heard that people who can show their capability may get funding after getting into the program. Is this understanding correct? ...
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60 votes
8 answers
13k views

What questions should one ask to the former/current students of a professor before deciding whether to do PhD under him/her?

Before deciding to do one's PhD under a certain professor, what questions should one ask of his/her former and current students? Many students (including me) are not sure what exactly to ask. May be ...
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  • 2,639
40 votes
7 answers
21k views

Why are US PhDs different from European PhDs?

So apparently I heard from here, here and here about the differences in PhDs in the US and in Europe. To sum up, it takes longer, on average, in the US than in Europe to finish a PhD since US PhD ...
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  • 2,258
22 votes
3 answers
22k views

Are there any research careers except professorship for a person holding PhD in pure mathematics?

I'm interested in mathematical research, but want to know if there are good jobs besides being a professor. Are there any lucrative research-centric careers out there for someone with a PhD in pure ...
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72 votes
7 answers
63k views

Self-Plagiarism in PhD thesis

I am a final year PhD in UK in a scientific discipline and I am writing my thesis. I have already published 2 journal papers and I have submitted 2 more papers for publications. My department does not ...
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25 votes
2 answers
4k views

Priority of application materials for admission decision

As I've already saw, many people here are related to admission process. And I want to ask their opinion on what is priority of all stuff from application: what is the most important (letters of ...
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  • 565
45 votes
13 answers
462k views

How can one differentiate between Dr. (PhD) and Dr. (MD or DO)?

Reading the question posted here left me with a more general question: Given the professional title and name: Dr. (First Name)(Last Name), is there some way to differentiate between the holder of a ...
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  • 551
4 votes
3 answers
6k views

Will one 'C' grade due to health issues ruin my chances of admission into a top grad school?

I am in the third year of my undergraduate degree now, and in the process of applying for Graduate schools and Med schools. I have a burning questions about a creepy "C" in my transcript. To ...
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  • 927
75 votes
5 answers
81k views

What does it mean if a professor asks you to draft his reference letter for you?

This question is, honestly speaking, probably somewhat opinion-based, but I still want to give a shot. A professor acceded to my invitation of writing a reference letter for me. Nevertheless, unlike ...
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  • 7,516
38 votes
7 answers
27k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages to completing a Masters program before applying to a Ph. D program?

I've been considering applying to graduate school of some form or another in Mathematics. During my undergraduate years, I did decently on my undergraduate coursework (mostly A-s, some As, a B) but ...
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  • 381
38 votes
4 answers
28k views

Can a professor influence the graduate admissions committee if he or she is interested in a particular student?

I've had a promising Skype interview with a great professor from a top-level university in US. Our research interests are closely related and he encouraged me to apply BUT he says that all decisions ...
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50 votes
8 answers
185k views

When can you call yourself doctor?

I just passed my dissertation defense. This means there is nothing left but paperwork to get my doctorate. Among the various congratulations I've received a couple have termed me: Dr. My assumption ...
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36 votes
2 answers
77k views

What are the 'right questions' to ask professors at a visit day for prospective graduate students?

I'm in mathematics, though I don't know if the answers to this will be field-dependent. There have been previous good questions that answer what to ask graduate students here and only somewhat ...
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49 votes
5 answers
32k views

How to find a good topic for a PhD research proposal?

In many countries an application for a PhD position includes a written research proposal, so my questions is what are some advises/strategies to come up with a good topic/idea for a PhD research ...
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  • 993
35 votes
6 answers
12k views

Why is discrimination based on citizenship allowed in PhD funding in the UK?

This question is specifically aiming at the UK PhD admission system. Having spent roughly 6 years in the UK - 2 years A-Level and 4 years undergraduate, I am now moving forward into applying for PhD ...
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30 votes
3 answers
16k views

Dissertation acknowledgements

I'm at the stage in writing my dissertation where most of the substantive aspects are finished and the only tasks left are more or less administrative. However, one thing that I've been avoiding is ...
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  • 400
13 votes
3 answers
9k views

Does one need a master's in math before taking a PhD in pure math?

I finished bachelor's in mathematical finance and am nearly finished with master's in mathematical finance (I am already done with thesis), and I plan to pursue a PhD not in mathematical finance but ...
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  • 2,258
34 votes
3 answers
105k views

How much detail to include in first email to potential PhD supervisor?

First, I must mention that I found these questions helpful: Prospective PhD contacts potential supervisor but receives no answer after 2-3 emails, what to do? What to do when emails to a potential ...
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  • 1,487
55 votes
6 answers
69k views

Non academic career options for PhD in Math

I am thinking of getting my M.S. in Computer Science. I chose C.S. because I enjoy programming and because its a solid choice, career wise. Low unemployment, good pay, all that jazz. But my real ...
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24 votes
5 answers
35k views

Is it possible to make leaving a PhD look good on a CV / Resume?

I am in the process of leaving my PhD programme in life sciences at a top university in the UK. A PhD is simply not for me and I find the work/life balance to be intolerable; in addition, my PhD so ...
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  • 341
42 votes
4 answers
11k views

How do you earn opportunites to review journals or conference papers?

Critical reading is a very useful skill for most PhD students (and postdocs and researchers in general). Instead of assuming that everything you read in a scientific paper is right, it's useful to ...
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42 votes
9 answers
117k views

Who actually is a Post-Doctoral fellow?

Many of us often talk about Bachelor's and Master's students, PhD students, researchers, professors, and postdocs. But, do we know what we actually intend when we say "Post-Doc"? We all know that a ...
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40 votes
3 answers
25k views

Is it necessary to obtain permissions for copying figures from published articles in your proposal/dissertation?

I am currently writing a proposal for my research topic and I want to copy figures from published articles into my proposal document. To put it in perspective, almost all the copied figures are to go ...
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28 votes
2 answers
26k views

Can I publish parts of the Ph.D thesis as a paper in a journal?

I recently finished my PhD thesis which will be published as a book soon. Now I'm wondering if it's possible or allowed to submit parts to a journal? Normally the process would be the other way round ...
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